The Department of Agrarian Reform office in Cagayan in coordination with the College of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and Accountancy (CBEA) of the Cagayan State University (CSU) launched a program last January 28 to provide business development services to the cooperatives under the DAR’s care.
An agreement was forged between DAR and CSU that allows CSU extension workers to help cooperatives and farmers’ organizations develop their enterprises and improve their operations.
“This is a three-year partnership with the DAR and already the CSU staff are very eager to go down to the field and engage these cooperatives. We will be mentoring, guiding, coaching, and training them until they are ready to be left on their own with their businesses,” explained Dr. Beatriz Oñate, extension coordinator of the CBEA.
The CBEA experts will be acting as consultants and trainers of the organizations and cooperatives in the fields of rganizational management, accounting, bookkeeping, enterprise development and management, product development, marketing and many others.
“We plan to involve the other colleges of the university especially in dealing with areas outside the expertise of CBEA,” Oñate added. On the other hand, CSU President Romeo R. Quilang said, “We welcome this challenge and this opportunity to work with the different cooperatives in the municipalities of Cagayan. This jives with our vision of making CSU programs visible in the entire province. We hope that we can reach out to more coops and towns.”
Quilang signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with DAR Regional Director Marjorie P. Ayson during the launching of the program. Under the said MOA, CSU will be providing these services under its extension programs free of charge. The University shall shoulder the travel and food expenses of their personnel in the conduct of their services. The DAR can only shoulder those activities that fall within the regular programs of the agency.
“This is a very great help to us considering the great reduction in our workforce brought about by the on-going implementation of the DAR Rationalization Plan,” bared Virgilio M. Acasili, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II.
The DAR assists 45 farmer groups in the province with only 20 personnel working as development facilitators and employees tasked to assist the cooperatives. For their initial engagement, a total of 11 cooperatives were identified to be beneficiaries of the program: “We will start with these 11 and from there we will expand to include more coops, depending on the outcome of the first try,” Acasili explained.
This strategy is the first of its kind for the DAR in the region and Director Ayson has promised to brief central office management of this development. According to her, “I commend the CSU for taking up this task. I personally assure you that our Secretary shall be informed of your commitment and your ingenuity.” Moreover, she also mentioned a dare to the beneficiaries, “I challenge the cooperatives to take advantage of this opportunity and match the zeal and enthusiasm of the government in addressing your needs.” (Aldwin M. Addun)